Over a period of years there have been significant improvements to the
public realm of Ipswich town centre: the paving of Giles Circus, St Peters
and St. Nicholas Streets, Northgate and Upper Brook Streets, new lighting in
Westgate and Carr Streets and an improved setting to the Willis building all
making a contribution. This has largely been achieved by use of a limited
palette of quality materials and contemporary street furniture.
The future of the Cornhill has still to be resolved but on the whole, the
town centre looks better than ever.
Giles Circus was presented with an Ipswich Society Award of Distinction in
2010 and the highway works at Soane Street and St. Margaret's Plain were
awarded a Commendation in last year's awards. To some, this small scheme
may seem an odd choice for recognition. It is part of a £21million
package of improvements to Ipswich funded by central government with the aim
of improving ease of movement for pedestrians and cyclists through the town
The work has innovative elements and resolves some problems in the area:
- The work improves pedestrian movements from Northgate St. and the
town centre to Christchurch Mansion and the Park.
- It helps to visually link the historic realm of Northgate Street,
Soane Street and the park entrance emphasising a north- south axis of
pedestrian movement rather than the east- west main road and vehicular
- The highway authority has removed the pedestrian safety holding pen
and railings at the pelican crossing making it easier for people to cross
the road and giving the message to drivers to slow down. One area of railing
was installed outside a family house, but the scheme is less cluttered than
- Quality materials have been used and opportunity taken for a new
tree to be planted. The setts across Soane Street indicate pedestrian
An inner circulatory scheme is essential to protect the town centre from
through traffic, but this simple effective scheme shows how physical work
can help bridge this barrier and enhance the historic area.